The Yetties

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January 2008 - Newsletter 87

40 Years Anniversary 4th/5th and 6th October 2007
The concerts and ceilidh seemed to go off with a swing, although, to be honest, I was in a bit of a daze most of the time. I wouldn't mind betting that Pete & Mac felt the same. I felt there was a halo of good will over Yetminster for the three days and there were lots of smiling, happy faces from all over this country and even from Denmark and South Africa. It was one of those special occasions that you tuck away for your memoirs.

Bob Common turned out with his drum kit to play for the Friday Night Ceilidh and he slotted straight in with the jigs, reels, polkas etc. He has definitely not lost the knack. I know he enjoyed meeting friends from years ago and making the acquaintance of our friends who started coming to Yetties concerts since he left the band 28 years ago.

On the Saturday afternoon there was the chance to ask us all sorts of awkward questions but, bless yer cotton socks, you didn't. The 'Meet The Yetties' chat session was always a bit risky but it proved no problem at all and now, of course, it's too late. You missed your opportunity.

Yetminster Fair
While we are on the subject of Yetminster, the Fair Day this year is on Saturday the 12th of July. Ron & June Page will be selling the concert tickets. Their address is 3 Bucklers Mead, Yetminster, Sherborne, Dorset, DT9 6LA. Tel. 01935 872940. For camping, stalls etc. please get in touch with Garth Hentley, Clare Cottage, High Street, Yetminster, Sherborne, Dorset, DT9 6LF. Tel. 01935 873239. For accommodation, B & B etc. best ring Sherborne Tourist Information on 01935 815341.

Old Yetties LPs
LPs in stock at the moment are: Keep A Runnin'; Our Friends The Yetties; Dorset Is Beautiful; The World of The Yetties; All At Sea; The Yetties of Yetminster; Up In Arms; The Village Band; Up Market; Dorset Style; In Concert; A Little Bit of Dorset; The Yetties and A Proper Job. If you would like any of these to add to your collection please ring 01935 814611. They cost 5 each plus 1 P. & P. Cheques to Halsway Manor.

Bowed Psaltery for Sale
Charles & Angie Birch have a bowed psaltery for sale with a hard case to put it in. You have probably seen Pete play one. They make a lovely haunting sound, particularly in an echoing building such as a church and they are simple to play. Tuning can be a problem but these days you can buy a very simple electronic devise to aid you in this from your friendly music shop. It is worth about 150 but they are only asking 50 in the hope that it will find a good home. The address is 15 Risdon Road, Watchet, Somerset, TA23 0HJ. Tel. 01984 631104.

Yetties Music Club
We have decided, after much deliberation, to call a halt to these evenings at The West End Hall, Sherborne. It's a shame and I know it will upset a few of the faithful but the fact is that the venue has been getting noisier and less attractive for some time and consequently, I think, the numbers attending have been going down. We have been running a club in the town for at least 25 years, first at The Woolmington and then at The West End. That makes at least 260 nights of entertainment so perhaps it's time we had a break as well.

We also organised nights in the skittle alley of The White Hart, Yetminster in the 70's and before we turned professional in 1967 there was the Yeovil Folk Song Club which we started in 1964. Only yesterday someone was proudly showing a membership card from the Yeovil Club for the year 1955. It's a big part of our past and who knows what the future might hold.

For those who miss the club make a note in your diaries for Wednesday, 26th of March when we will be in The Memorial hall, Digby Road, Sherborne for a concert. See Datesheet.

There are also other attractions in the area. John Waltham runs a series of events at The Trooper Inn, Stourton Caundle. His next big guest is Bryan Bowers from the U.S.A. on Thursday, 17th of April. Bryan is reputed to be the best autoharp player and singer in the world. If you can't make this one then there are monthly singarounds on the third Thursday of the month.

Folk South West also have their series of Live Wires concerts at Stoke Sub Hambdon. We are there on Friday, March 21st. See the Event List.

Memory Lane (The Albert Hall)
When we first became involved in folk music via The Yetminster & Ryme Intrinseca Junior Folk Dance Display Team the biggest event of the year in folk circles was the English Folk Dance & Song Society's Festival at The Royal Albert Hall. Apart from booking recognised teams of dancers and well known singers the EFDSS also arranged for representatives of Dance clubs from all over the country to join in the mass dancing displays and musicians to play in the huge band. There was, naturally enough, great rivalry between clubs and within clubs to represent your county. Eventually all three of us took our turns at the dancing and later Mac & Pete also played in the massed band. This was a great honour and the nerves were certainly on the jangle all day. Looking back of course it didn't really matter what we did because no one was going to notice you in the throng but for us youngsters from the country it was quite frightening. Apart from the actual performing you could easily get lost. Once you were inside all the entrances and exits looked very much alike and you could just wander round and round in circles.

In 1968 we were asked to go back and be part of a folk production of 'Oh What A Lovely War' with London Folk, who were the best team of display dancers at the time. We had to learn songs from the 1st World War trenches such as 'Hush Here Comes A Whiz Bang' and 'When This Bloody War Is Over' and the whole thing was very, very moving. The highlight was when the men from the team did a Morris Dance called 'Shooting' from the village of Brackley using rifles instead of sticks. Unbeknown to the audience they had blanks stuffed up the spout and at the end of the dance they fired their guns in unison. The effect was dramatic. 5000 people either gasped or screamed, some were in tears and then as the smoke drifted towards the roof there was a deathly hush as people recalled the slaughter on the fields of Flanders.

We did this show again with London Folk at The Billingham Folk Festival the next year but the effect was somewhat spoiled when, at one of the moving moments, Bob tripped base over apex down the steps.

We performed as The Yetties a couple more times at the Albert Hall and I can remember our 'Nellie The Elephant' going down rather well with the crowd. She, after all, is the only Morris Dancing elephant in captivity. I was the front end and Mac was the rear and once again I can assure you it was very easy to get lost. We had the whole arena to ourselves this time and visibility was virtually nil. It's a wonder she didn't trundle off to the jungle.